“The ultimate leader is not afraid to develop people to the point they surpass him or her in knowledge and ability.” ~ Fred A. Manske, Jr.
Hopefully your vision and mission in life is much bigger than yourself. God-sized visions and missions are global and generational. They keep growing and expanding even after we are out of the picture. If you can accomplish your vision by yourself in your lifetime, you have a very small vision. It is so much more fulfilling to be a small part of something big than all of something small.
How will what you’ve been pouring the best years of your life into, continue when you can no longer be a part of it (for whatever reason)? All good leaders plan for the next generation of leaders to build on their shoulders and take their vision to new heights after they’re gone. This was true of Moses. He poured his life and leadership into Joshua over 40 years to prepare him to fulfill the vision and mission that Moses had lived his life for. Joshua was a welled prepared “next generation leader”.
Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you…No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. (Joshua 1:2-5 NLT)
God works in the midst of God-sized visions that honor Him. Succession planning is success planning. As Christian leaders, we need to not only be aware of God’s eternal purpose and plan, but we must yield ourselves and our own egos to how and when He wants to accomplish His work. This was true of Moses. He spent 80 years of his life with the mission of getting the Children of Israel out of slavery and into the Promised Land. He got them right to the goal line and God decided it was time to change quarterbacks.
There is no indication that Moses was bitter when he came up short. In fact, everything indicates that Moses died in peace knowing that he was leaving the reigns of his leadership in the capable hands of Joshua. After all, he had prepared Joshua for this day.
Think big when it comes to your mission and vision. Let me encourage you to be very intentional in identifying and pouring yourself into the next generation of leaders who will carry your torch forward. When you plan for succession, you plan for success.
Invest in next generation leaders today and rest in the assurance that if you train them well they carry your work further than you could ever have taken it by yourself.